Protein Muddy Buddies

A lightened up version of muddy buddies with an added protein boost! Gluten-free, dairy-free with a low-sugar option as well.

A bowl of protein muddy muddies made with protein powder.

Muddy Buddies, Puppy Chow, Trash… it goes by many names, but no matter what you call it — it’s a delicious and highly addictive sugary treat!

A hand holding four pieces of protein muddy buddy mix.

It’s also not a health food.

I’m all about indulging, especially around the holidays, but I find it fun to make recipes a little healthier so I tweaked the classic recipes for muddy buddies that I grew up with as a kid. The EBF version has less calories and more protein than the traditional blend, but it tastes just as good! One 1/2 cup serving has 4 grams of protein, but if you’re looking for even more protein, you can add more protein powder than powdered sugar. I was making this mix as a gift and didn’t want the protein powder flavor to be too overwhelming so I decided to roll with 1/4 cup.

A bowl full of protein buddy buddies.

Be sure to read the recipe notes because there are tweaks you can make to make the recipe dairy-free and lower in sugar.

Note about using powdered peanut butter:

When I first created this recipe I used powdered peanut butter mixed with water instead of regular peanut butter to keep the protein high and fat content lower. This option works, but the water in the mixture kind of makes the chocolate seize a little and the chocolate mixture becomes more like a paste instead of a drippy chocolate sauce. This makes it harder to coat the cereal. That said, I’ve made it several times using this method and it still works, you just have to toss the cereal with the chocolate mixture a bit more to get a good coating.

Note about using powdered erythritol:

If you want to make this recipe lower in sugar, you can use powdered erythritol. I tried the recipe with Swerve confectioners sugar and it worked great BUT sugar alcohols give me really bad gas (TMI, I know…). That said, I personally would much rather make this with regular powdered sugar, however if your tummy can tolerate erythritol it’s a great way to decrease the sugar content!

A bowl of protein muddy buddies coated in vanilla protein powder.

Make a batch to take to your next holiday party or portion into cute containers and give it away as gifts. Or keep it around the house — but I will warn you, it’s easy to eat a whole batch of it in a day. Not that happened to me or anything. 😉

More Healthy Snack Recipes

If you try this recipe for protein muddy buddies, please be sure to leave me a comment and star rating letting me know how the recipe turns out. Your feed is so helpful for the EBF team and other EBF readers who are thinking about making the recipe. 

A bowl full of protein buddy buddies.

Protein Muddy Buddies

Brittany Mullins
Make muddy buddies a bit healthier with a protein boost with just a few easy substitutions! Gluten-free and dairy-free. 
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Total Time 12 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 202 kcal


  • 6 cups Rice or Corn Chex
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips dairy-free if needed*
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter*
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar or powdered erythritol*
  • 1/4 cup vanilla protein powder


  • Measure cereal and place in a large bowl, set aside.
  • Pour powered sugar or powdered erythritol and protein powder into 2-gallon resealable zip-lock bag.
  • In a saucepan over low-medium heat add peanut butter, chocolate chips and coconut oil. Stir continuously until chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour chocolate mixture over cereal and toss until evenly coated.
  • Carefully pour coated cereal mixture into the bag with the powdered sugar and protein powder. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on parchment paper to cool completely. Make sure you let it cool for a while before putting it in a container, otherwise your mix will get soggy.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Keeping it in the fridge will keep it fresh and crunchy!


  • Chex is the traditional cereal used for Muddy Buddies, but you can always try different cereal options!
  • If you prefer to use powdered peanut butter for lower fat content, mix 1/4 cup powered peanut butter (like PB2) with 2 Tablespoons almond milk  or water and 1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter. Use this instead of the 1/3 cup peanut butter.
  • For dairy-free chocolate chips, I like using Enjoy Life or SunSpire!
  • Powdered erythritol makes this lower in sugar. I've used Swerve and it worked great.


Serving: 1/2 cup (made with regular powdered sugar)Calories: 202kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 4gFat: 9gSodium: 148mgFiber: 2gSugar: 13g
Keyword protein muddy buddies
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Recipe Rating

    1. Maggie
      August 19, 2020 AT 2:02 pm

      Is there a way to make this without coconut oil? I am allergic to coconuts

      1. Brittany Mullins
        August 19, 2020 AT 2:22 pm

        Totally! I’d use butter instead of the coconut oil.

    2. Lily
      May 18, 2020 AT 7:37 pm

      5 stars
      Just made these and they were a HIT among my family. They were the perfect quick and tasty treat. And the protein powder is undetectable!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 18, 2020 AT 10:46 pm

        Yay!! I’m so glad this recipe was a hit with your family, Lily. I so appreciate you trying my recipe and coming back to leave a comment + star rating!!

    3. Missy
      December 20, 2019 AT 1:22 pm

      5 stars
      I’m trying to wean myself off Christmas cookies and I was craving something sweet. This is so good and quick! I used a little less sugar because Im using peanut butter protein powder and it’s already pretty sweet. I needed a little more than the recipe called for, but no biggie. My boyfriend has already had some and he approves (and he’s not worried about sugar content or protein benefits at all, so I’m sure this is kid friendly)!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 23, 2019 AT 12:39 pm

        Woo-hoo!! So glad you and your boyfriend enjoyed this recipe. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and star rating, Missy. It means the world to me. <3

    4. Becky @ Olives n Wine
      December 9, 2012 AT 6:14 pm

      I love that you made these healthier and added in some protein! What a great idea for the holiday season 🙂 I think my favorite treats this time of year are peanut clusters and peanut butter balls – I have a love for all things peanut butter + chocolate!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 10, 2012 AT 8:09 pm

        Peanut butter balls will always have a special place in my heart too. 🙂

Parchment paper lined with protein balls.


Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring!